Coleman denies doping, hits out at drug 'smears'
US sprinter Christian Coleman hit back at criticism of his three missed doping tests on Wednesday, insisting he had never taken performance-enhancing drugs and never would.
Coleman, the favourite for the 100m at the World Championships in Doha, risked a suspension after drug-testers were unable to locate him on three separate occasions in a 12-month period.
However the charges against him were withdrawn because of a technicality on September 2 after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) receieved guidance on how the 12-month window should be calculated. Coleman, who had previously denied any wrongdoing in a statement released in August, took to social media on Wednesday to elaborate on his case. In a post on Instagram, the 23-year-old insisted he was a clean athlete, emphasising he does not even take legal supplements.
"Therefore I have never failed a drug test and never will," Coleman said.
"I'm the biggest advocate for clean sport because I know the sacrifice and what it takes to make it to this level.
"I shouldn't have to defend myself but for the first and last time I literally do not take ANY supplements or protein powders. Nothing even legal to help with recovery. Nothing. I work hard at practice, drink water and Powerade, rest, and work even harder the next day." In a separate video message posted on Youtube, Coleman appeared to accuse USADA of attempting to "smear" his reputation, and pointed the finger at US authorities for releasing details of his case into the public domain.
The first reports of Coleman's case appeared in Britain's Daily Mail newspaper. USADA had refused to comment on the case until Coleman himself issued a statement to NBC on August 24. "It shouldn't have even been a public ordeal," Coleman said. "I've never heard of a situation where an athlete doesn't have their own privacy, they don't get an opportunity to clear their name before any public knowledge is out there.
"It's a shame on USADA that this was public knowledge, that they didn't know their own rules -- that they expect athletes to know the rules but they can't follow their own."
The case against Coleman stalled after the sprinter's lawyers pointed out under existing rules, his three whereabouts tests should not have been classified as three missed tests.
His first offence occurred on June 6 last year. A doping control officer attempted to test the sprinter and discovered he had failed to update his whereabouts information to reflect his location.
Two more whereabouts failures were logged on January 16 this year and April 26.
However Coleman's team successfully argued under current rules, his first missed case should have been backdated to the first day of that quarter -- April 1, 2018 -- which would mean the dates of the three offences fell outside the required 12-month timeframe for a doping offence to have occurred.